* Warning: This is a long post and is full of mushy, gushy nostalgia, and is probably overly-emotional. Feel free to skip!
On the 22nd of December, 2006, I gave up smoking. I found it easy and buoyed by my success, I went to Weight Watchers in January 2007. I had been to WW many times before, once losing 3 stone when I was fifteen.
Over the course of 2007, though I took up smoking again in May, I had possibly the best year of my life so far. I started out at 22 stone (308 pounds or 140 kgs). At my final weigh-in of that year, I weighed 16 stone 7.5 lbs (231.5 pounds or 104 kgs). That was a loss of almost 5 and a half stone (74.5 pounds/36 kilos).
The year had started with me in 56-inch trousers. I hadn’t worn a pair of jeans in 5 years. By the end of the year, I could squeeze into 38-inch jeans. I burned the “grandad trousers” with great pleasure. Socks and underpants no longer left painful reddish-purplish indentations in my flesh when I took them off. I had a whole new wardrobe and visited TopMan, River Island or Next nearly every day. I was much better able to dance too. And, of course, I got lots of compliments.
I also discovered that the tray tables on aeroplanes lie flat and don’t sit in an awkward diagonal position on your belly.
By far the best feeling when you lose weight is when people don’t recognise you. During this magical year, friends, relatives, students and casual acquaintances all failed to recognise me. It’s like you’ve been given a new identity.
Other things went well that year too. I was working four jobs and I earned €40,000 – an amount I never reached before or since. I was constantly busy. I also started my Masters and started getting firsts for the first time this millennium. I made new friends and re-established contact with old ones.
I still have all the clothes I bought that year. My little cottage is groaning under the weight of all the clothes that don’t fit me and are far nicer than any of the ones I wear now.
I hate the fact that I’m back at the weight I was before that year started. That I am permanently broke and worried about money. That I don’t know if I’ll ever get to college again.
Today, I was walking down Wexford Street, when I saw an old friend of mine. Let’s call her Desdemona. Desdemona was a major inspiration to me in Weight Watchers in 2007. She had lost 12 stone (a whole person!) and looked like a normal thin person.
When I saw her today I felt like I do every time I see her. Embarrassed. We chatted. It was all very friendly. She was wearing one of those awful tops that girls started wearing about five years ago. One of the ones that flounces out underneath the bust that makes all girls look pregnant. Had she gained weight? I don’t know! I don’t know why I cared so much! During our conversation, I didn’t look anywhere below her neck. She didn’t look anywhere below mine. We engaged in a mutual lie. We didn’t mention how we knew each other. We didn’t mention that I was supposed to be the next big Aungier Street Weight Watchers success, and that I’m not. We were both visibly relieved when her friend showed up and our goodbyes were hurried and strained.
I don’t know where that leaves me now. This hasn’t been a perfect week, but overall, it’s been a damn good one. But I’m in a rush. I want to meet Desdemona and have my head held high. I want to wear all those lovely clothes today. I want to dance. I want to not have to think about bloody money and I want my underpants to stop hurting!
So when I burn these underpants, and when I burn the current grandad trousers, you’re all invited. It’ll be a fabulous party with no expense spared. I promise to dance!